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Once upon a Time in Widescreen: The Films of Sergio Leone

Saturday, October 20, 2007
8:45 p.m. For a Few Dollars More
Sergio Leone (Italy, 1965)

(Per qualche dollaro in più). If Sergio Leone has a brand, it's the trinity: Fistful of Dollars had Clint Eastwood, The Man with No Name, triangulated with two rivalrous clans. For a Few Dollars More, the quasi-sequel, retrieves the ever-vicious Gian Maria Volontè, now as El Indio, and adds the third spoke, a reptilian Lee Van Cleef playing a bounty hunter whose way with weapons equals that of Eastwood, but whose sense of survival is aged like jerky. It is El Indio, or rather the bounty on his cabeza, that draws these two kill-for-coin cowboys together. Leone plays El Indio's gang, including Klaus Kinski's hunchback, as caricatured psychos-in-saddles, so when the bodies start stacking up like cords of wood, we look on with arid admiration. And look on we do as the monumental landscape—indifferent host to the mounting mayhem—spreads out before us. We know who the father and son are in this unholy trinity, and that leaves El Indio as the holy ghost when the film expires.

—Steve Seid

• Written by Leone, Luciano Vincenzoni, Sergio Donati, from a story by Leone, Fulvio Morsella. Photographed by Massimo Dallamano. Music by Ennio Morricone. With Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volontè, Klaus Kinski. (130 mins, Color, 'Scope, 35mm, From MGM)